When Hanley Ramirez signed with the Red Sox, most of the joy came from the fact that one of the best prospects and products of the farm system had returned to Boston as a proven commodity who could help the team win, but there were some concerns about how the oft-injured free agent would play.
Then, he put on 25 pounds of muscle over the offseason because of the switch from shortstop to the outfield. It was fair to wonder how that would impact his hitting,if at all, and while we're less than 10 games into the season, we're starting to get a good idea based on shots like this one:
It might be even better from this replay angle not included in the above video:
That's Ramirez's fourth blast of the year, and he should have five if not for the cold, windy conditions in Philadelphia robbing him of his second grand slam. The first, by the way, was a broken-bat shot that still got out of Citizen's Bank Park in a hurry.
Having muscles isn't everything in baseball, of course, or else Brad Fullmer would be the game's greatest hitter. But when you combine all that strength with the bat speed and tremendous hitting skills of Hanley Ramirez, then you get shots like this one that would have gone through the Green Monster if it hadn't gone over it.
With any luck, all that extra muscle will help him stay on the field more often, because the Red Sox and their fans need to see more of this out of Hanley now and in the future.